There was a time when the checkout girl/boy at the supermarket would ask, 'paper or plastic?' but now, that question isn't asked anymore, only a decade later. In fact, if people want a paper bag, they usually have to ask and pay for it!
It's not because store owners are assuming that plastic bags are more popular; it's because plastic bags are much cheaper to make, less harsh on the environment, reusable and have lower carbon footprints. It just makes sense!
This might sound a little far-fetched after hearing so many media advertisements and environmentalist claims of how bad plastic bags are. You might be wondering, how this could be? Keep reading and you'll see there's actually nothing strange about it!
That's not to say the thought of using paper bags seems noble since paper is recyclable and any opportunity to use the recycling bin does make you feel as though each item is a contribution towards a healthier universe; however, if you're recycling too many paper bags, you're actually cutting down more trees, using more energy and much, much more fossil fuel down than saving trees.
Before you disagree about how plastic bags are better than paper bags, think about this: Can you argue indisputable, cold, hard facts? Even though opinions run high when it comes to going green, facts don't have opinions, facts have facts!
- In 1999, 14 million trees were cut to produce the 10 billion paper bags (grocery) used by Americans that year alone.
- Studies indicate it takes 91% less energy to recycle plastic per pound than it takes to recycle a pound of paper.
- The proper procedure of making paper uses approximately three tons of wood chips to make only one ton of pulp and 400 parts water to only one part pulp which is 20 times more than plastic bags.
- Contrary to the popular belief that paper bags biodegrade much faster than plastic bags will is absolutely false since this depends strictly on temperature, pH, types of bacteria present and the form of the paper.
- The process of making paper creates enormous amounts of pollution since different chemicals are added to the burning chips and release air pollution in the form of acid rain and water pollution.
The facts listed above are concrete documentations that have been proven after many, many studies surrounding hot topic whether it's safer to use plastic bags or not. As the studies and research continues, the biggest factor that keeps popping up every single time shows evidence that paper bags are mostly used ONLY from the store to the house, whereas, plastic bags are used, reused and then reused some more!
Let's think about this realistically: If you're earth conscious and in the green zone, trying to save the rain forests, water, resources and water for all of those paper bags that are being thrown out by the millions every day is definitely not the ideal choice. Out of all the millions of tons of paper bags created every year, only 20% of these bags will ever be used more than once. Simply said, you might as well just cut down a whole tree and set it on the side of the road to wait for the recycling truck.
In early 2011, a report was release by the UK Environment Agency (EA) that has taken a long, hard look at the environmental effects of various types of bags. . Through intensive research, they've been able to prove that ordinary high-density polythene (HDPE) bags are a much greener choice since it takes less of one third of Co2 emissions than paper bags.
The point is, the words, 'paper bags' just sounds a lot greener and better than 'plastic bags,' when in reality, all of these facts prove otherwise.
This information may be enough to persuade you that plastic bags are more economical than paper bags but if you really to know the truth, this is only the beginning of understanding how plastic bags have been falsely demonised.